Friday, March 21, 2008

The Bob Mould Half Hour

What, only half an hour?

When the artist for the night's featured half-hour was announced, I grabbed my trusty Mr. Audio and readied it to record. 'Micko' of Blitz (formerly, in their pirate days, Micko in the Doghouse) Phantom FM's alternative hard rock show, is one of the station's longest-serving DJs. And according to this article, he's 'Rodge' from Podge and Rodge. I didn't know that.

I wish I had the equipment to digitally record a cassette (and I would have if I'd got the next Ion turntable up, I think) but I don't, so I've just zipped up the relevant mp3 files from my own collection into a folder and uploaded it to Mediafire for your listening pleasure:

Bob Mould Playlist, Phantom FM

1. 'The Silence Between Us' - Bob Mould, District Line

2. 'Don't Want To Know If You Are Lonely' - Hüsker Dü, Candy Apple Grey

3. 'A Good Idea' - Sugar, Copper Blue

4. 'Could You Be the One?' - Hüsker Dü, Warehouse: Songs and Stories

5. 'Your Favourite Thing' - Sugar, File Under: Easy Listening

6. 'Stupid Now' - Bob Mould, District Line

It's not actually half an hour long, more like twenty one and a bit minutes; but that's just the songs of course, and no radio jabber, radio idents or ads. Or programming warnings:

"If you don't like to hear songs with loud guitars or bad language, turn off your radio now and do something else, like

[build a model airplane],

[make a sandwich],

[join a band],

[fix the toilet - again] or

[stare at the fish]"

(square brackets to indicate sound effects)

It's a good mix, a good overview of Bob Mould's pop-heavy punk-hardcore songwriting; no really raucous stuff, like Sugar's Beaster EP or the early Hüsker Dü such as Metal Circus or, of course, Zen Arcade; and none of his more electronic work, such as Modulate or his most recent (before District Line), Body Of Song. 'Stupid Now', the last song of the half hour and the first song of the new album, comes the closest to the Body of Song sound; 'The Silence Between Us', the single of which should be appearing on this blog sometime soon, is more a return-to-form of the Sugar sound. I found this interesting summation of the single on the indie blog I Rock Cleveland:

"In his less than complimentary track review of Bob Mould's "The Silence Between Us" for Paper This Walls, Ron Hart wrote, "If this track came from any other artist, people would dismiss it as the hacky, watered-down Foo Fighters bite it really is. Quicker than you can say Candy Apple Grey. But because it is 'Bob Mould,' critics and fans seem to be hailing this twaddle as the Hüsker Düde’s comeback to his guitar-rock roots." Hart does have a valid point. If this wasn't Bob Mould, then "The Silence Between Us" wouldn't have had me digging through my mess of a cd rack, my secondary cd rack, and all the stacks of cds on the bedroom dresser and the coffee table in my living room looking for old Sugar cds I hadn't played in years. Instead, I would have tuned my dial to K-ROCK to hear more "alternative" hits from the Nineties and Today. Look, I'm not saying that "The Silence Between Us" is the second coming of "If I Can't Change Your Mind,"* but it's far from twaddle, and if anything, it serves as a reminder that Mould had quite a string of solid singles during his post Husker Du days."

(* guess what the b-side for 'The Silence Between Us" is? Ironic)

The other tracks on this mix, from Sugar and from Hüsker Dü, reflect that solid string. Candy Apple Gray is one of my very favourite Husker albums (almost better than New Day Rising?) and 'Don't Want To Know If You Are Lonely' typifies the acerbic pop of that album (see note below); likewise, 'A Good Idea' from Copper Blue exemplifies the incredible grunge-y bite of Sugar's finest album. Like Micko himself says:

"...Now we're going right up to the nineties, when Mould formed the more rockin' Sugar, kind of the band I discovered him through. This is from Sugar's debut album released in '92, Copper Blue. In fact, I remember very well taping Copper Blue on one side of a cassette and on the other side I taped Nirvana's Nevermind and saying to a mate I gave it to I wasn't sure which was better. So there you go. Here's 'A Good Idea', taken from Copper Blue:"

'Could You Be The One?' is a late Hüsker Dü, from the Warehouse album which is crammed full of every type of song Bob Mould and Grant Hart could come up with. Similarly, 'Your Favourite Thing' is from Sugar's final album, FU:EL.

There is of course a whole range of other, solo, Bob Mould stuff preceding 2008's District Line. Body of Song is a very decent, if not to say quite good, electro-rock album - mostly sounding like late Sugar with a few extra twiddles. And then there's his self-titled debut, generally known as the 'hubcap' album due its cover.

Since I haven't done a Friday Video for a couple of weeks now - and to bring this a little closer to a full half hour of music! - here's the strangely Sesame Street-like video for 'Egøverride' from that album:

NOTE: 'Don't Want To Know If You Are Lonely', I just realised last night, is in fact written - and sung - by Grant Hart. Says right so in the liner notes for Candy Apple Grey, and of course you can tell by the way it sounds a bit like 'Standing By The Sea'. To be honest though, if I hadn't heard some of Hart's solo stuff, I wouldn't be able to tell the difference between their voices that easily. Anyway, to make up for that, here's something further that is definitely Bob Mould - vocals and guitar - the video for Sugar's 'Gee Angel':

I also realised, Candy Apple Grey has the right spelling of 'grey' - what's up with that?


mr x,indeed said...

ego-overide video reminds me of this masterpiece by mr frank black:

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